The Edmonton Oilers are known for having one of the biggest 50/50s in sports and this weekend’s Heritage Classic isn’t any different. This raffle aims to give more kids the opportunity to lace up their skates.
Kids like Jerron Ryder, who is only 11 years old but already has his future planned out. Jerron has been playing hockey for two years after being inspired by his dad.
“Connor McDavid is my idol, so I just want to be like him when I grow up. When I was a little kid, I looked up to my dad. He used to play beer league so just wanted to be like him,” Jerron said.
His family was able to give Jerron the start to his hockey career after receiving financial help from some local non-profits.
“All kids dream big and you want to be able to support them in that capacity and as a parent you hate saying no. So it’s just nice that things like this exist so that you don’t have to say no and you can help build them up,” said Ulanda Ryder, Jerron’s mom.
The Edmonton Oilers Community Foundation (EOCF) is looking to help even more families, with its new Every Kid Deserves a Shot initiative supported by this week’s Heritage Classic 50/50.
“We feel that because of the fans because of the power and spirit of hockey in oil country, the passion for the oilers we have the opportunity to do something really big and that’s what it is,” said Myrna Khan, EOCF executive director.
The EOCF hopes to provide families and kids with everything they need to play the sport.
“Hockey is expensive and so a lot of our programs help have hockey be more accessible and inclusive, and again, it’s all the building blocks that we’re working on. We want to get sticks in kids’ hands and we know that is a journey to get there,” Khan said.
The Ryder family says it was a no-brainer to get involved with the initiative.
“Surprising enough, if people reach out it’s an overnight ease and when you see the burden of, such as $3,000 come off your account … and help with your child, you just got to put in the effort to go and do it,” Niagell Ryder said.
Jerron hopes other kids can fall in love with hockey like he did.
“I just think that every kid should have the chance and opportunity to play sports because it’s fun and awesome,” Jerron said.
Tickets are currently available for sale across the province and the prize will be drawn after Sunday’s game at Commonwealth Stadium.
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